The leading food expert of the United Nations described the world's food situation as grim and getting worse.
The leading food expert of the United Nations described the world's food situation as grim and getting worse. Speaking at the twentieth conference of the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) in Rome on Tuesday (13 November), FAO Director General Edouard Saouma told the conference that despite thirty years of worldwide co-operation, the number of hungry people in the world had increased. On Monday (12 November), Pope John Paul the second spoke to the delegates of the hunger caused by man, and what he called the "terror and oppression" of ideological systems.
SYNOPSIS: Fifteen hundred delegates from one hundred and forty-six nations met at the twentieth General Conference of the FAO. Director-General Saouma in his address criticised rich countries for failing to help the poor nations. He said that thirty-two nations were having bad harvests and that wheat, coarse grain and rice production would be low this year. And the importation of cereals by developing nations has grown twice as fast in the 1970's as in the 60's.
Mr Saouma said that no targets for aid have been met and the rich prey on the poor in the international economic jungle.
Pope John Paul came to speak to the conference, and he pleaded for concrete action.
The Pontiff said that sporadic and inefficient puffs of indignation were not enough. The world needed firm action. Offering his own point of view on food aid to poor countries, the Pope said that the era of trying to fulfil the need for food through aid programmes, the redistribution of surpluses elsewhere, or by emergency aid, is over.
He said that the FAO's new policy - of giving top priority to the effort of every country to develop its own production, means that needy countries should receive help to boost their agriculture.
Pope John Paul said that experience shows us cruelly that world hunger is not only caused by geographical, climatic or agricultural problems, but also by man himself through the terror and oppression of ideological systems and inhuman practices.